SoCal To Las Vegas

Immortalized by the great Hunter S. Thompson in the novel-turned-movie ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,’ the journey from Southern California to Las Vegas can be thrilling and captivating. While it is not advised that you bring along a briefcase full of psychedelics and other drugs, you should certainly bring along an open-mind and a bottle of quality sunscreen.

It is certainly true that any good visitors guide or travel brochure will provide you with the names and locations of spots along the route, but here is a breakdown of the journey from an experienced travel junkie.

Every good road trip begins with getting out of the gridlock of the city as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the first 40 or 50 miles of the journey are through the densely populated cities of West Covina, Pomona and Ontario. Once you reach Rancho Cucamonga, you’re almost into the flat and tranquil paths that cut through the San Bernardino Mountains.

Look for signs that indicate the merging of Interstate 15 and 215. Tucked into the land adjacent to the freeway interchange is a little dive bar known as the Screaming Chicken Saloon. It may not show up in a travel brochure, but the saloon is friendly, affordable and unassuming — making it the perfect initial stop on a road trip.

Victorville is a happy little town about 25 miles up the road, but it provides little in the form of entertainment. Adventurous diners can grab a bag of tacos for the road from Taco Chon, which is the last available food for about 40 miles. The small city of Barstow marks the halfway point in the journey, and can be passed through in less than two minutes in a car going 65 miles-per-hour.

Barstow’s Fogelsong Park is just a mile off of Interstate 15 and offers acres of lush grasses that are perfect for Frisbee, hacky sack or picnicking. Make sure to stock up on gasoline and other necessary items, as the haul from Barstow to Las Vegas is a lonely and desolate 150 miles. The winding stretch is perfect for photography, short hikes, inner reflecting and soul searching.

You’ll soon be seeing the fabulous retro sign that has welcomed visitors to Sin City since 1959. Interstate 15 runs through the heart of the city, depositing drivers onto the world-famous Las Vegas strip by way of West Tropicana Avenue and East Flamingo Road.

Once you have secured a parking spot and made you way onto the strip, you’re free to enjoy the bounties of the exotic and diverse region. Grab a visitors guide from any casino to quickly get informed of your surroundings.

Adam has been on the trail from Cali to Vegas over 50 times. His recommendations: get a travel brochure and some tunes.